Cutting a piece or slice of pizza
Taking a flyer
“We place flyers around local businesses promoting the business [and] the new client discounts,” said Melissa Bowman, an Enrolled Agent at Rainbow Accounting Services in Bradford, Ohio. “The flyers have a tear-off at the bottom that people can tear off that has our phone number and website on it. We also have quarter page ‘ads’ that we drop off at pizza places and hair salons locally that have slogans such as ‘Take a slice out of your tax prep fees’ and for the salons it reads ‘Take a cut off of your tax prep fees.’ These,” Bowman added, “have been surprisingly beneficial.”
Referral folder
Tell a friend -- please!
“We offer clients a referral discount on the next tax preparation for each referral,” said Twila Midwood, an EA at Advanced Tax Centre at Rockledge, Florida. “We prefer referrals; however, this past season we had more clients through Google than we have in the past, so that appears to be working as well.”
Filming a video in an office
Get ready for your close-up
“Our clients enjoy amateur self-shot videos [where] I’m discussing a hot relevant topic,” said Jake Alexander, an EA and owner at Alexander Financial in Largo, Florida. “They’re free to post on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Each video tends to get several hundred views.”
Word of mouth / network marketing
Word up
Word of mouth remains the ultimate in advertising, but how to get others who’ve worked with you to tell their friends and associates what a great experience it was? “It cost me nothing financially. What it did cost was giving my current clients the best service possible for what I charge,” said EA Laurie Ziegler at Sass Accounting in Saukville, Wisconsin. “It also means responding promptly to emails and phone calls, even if the response is, ‘I need to get back to you later.’ It’s benefited my business exponentially – for the first several years in business, my number of clients doubled annually.” More recently, she said, Facebook has helped, giving her clients a method for making referrals.
Doing the work right
“Performing to a standard at a reasonable rate and subsequently adding value to my client’s lives lends itself to the best word-of-mouth referrals,” said John Dundon, an EA and president of Taxpayer Advocacy Services in Englewood, Colorado. “It costs me literally nothing and has been the foundation of my entire client base.”
Working the plan
You can accomplish many parts of what you may or may not realize is your “marketing plan” cheaply, according to the Income Tax School, which offers this checklist that includes such potentially inexpensive action ideas as reminding repeat clients to slate their next appointment via postcard, email or a call; tweaking your website; using social media regularly (including Yelp, where you should respond to any negative comments); and pitching media sources tax-time articles.